This tweet got me to thinking about how ridiculous it is that Tennessee is among a dwindling number of states that forbid the sale of wine in grocery stores.
The reason I was so excited about the Whole Foods renovation (beside the greater variety and the fact that their house brands are more affordable) is that I like to get all my provisions in one place. Before, I was having to divide my shopping between Wild Oats, Schnucks and The Fresh Market and the fact that all three stores are within a block of each other didn’t make things much easier.
And after rushing out of the grocery so our perishables don’t … um … perish, the last thing I’m thinking about is stopping by the liquor store for a bottle of vino. Even though Wine Market is en route, we’re usually reeling from the amount we’ve spent and none-too-inclined to drop twenty bucks more.
Why not take a step out of the process?
As someone who doesn’t start to feel buyer’s remorse until actually leaving the store, when it’s too late to say “Um, maybe I don’t need that after all – will you void it?” I feel like I’d be far more likely to splurge on a bottle of wine if I could put it in the cart with the rest of my groceries. Plus, recipes that call for wine are better with drinking wine instead of cooking wine (that’s a little pro-tip I gleamed from some fancy chef I know). One-stop shopping would mean saving money on fuel; and I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d probably go to bars less often (safer roads!). The state might get an economic boost from the additional sales tax we’d be paying (especially since grocery stores stay open longer) and since Gov. Bredesen warns that the state may be facing an $800 million dollar budget shortfall, that probably is a very good thing.
I did a little Googling and was reminded that I am not the only Tennesseean who feels this way. The CA a few months back reported on this very issue in March, and there is an organization called Red White and Food that is pushing for food stores to be allowed to sell wine. According to their blog, a state senate subcommittee will be having a hearing Monday to discuss wine legislation, including wine in retail food stores wherever “package sales” are allowed at the retailer’s discretion. I strongly recommend taking a look at Red White and Food’s blog because it contains a lot of valuable info.
I’m not getting too excited because, let’s face it, this is Tennessee. Remember the hubbub surrounding the lottery? This state is populated by quite a few self-righteous evangelical types bent on legislating morality, regardless of what grape beverage Christ made from water. Surely they’ll argue that easier access to wine will lead to widespread underage drinking, although I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a teenager with a taste for tinto. Plain and simple, kids steal booze from their parents (Except for me, because neither my parents nor my friends’ ever had any booze).
I’m eager to see how this turns out. If you live in the Volunteer State and want to contact your legislators in support of this legislation, here is a link to do so. It’s about time Tennessee got with the program.